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Coronavirus / More Covid cases as local rate now more than double national average

THERE have been a further 71 Covid-19 cases recorded in the islands in the past 24 hours – with incidence of the virus now running at more than double the Scottish average.

Friday’s numbers were down on the 83 recorded on Thursday and, while NHS Shetland emphasised that most cases were “asymptomatic” or “very mild”, the requirement for self-isolation continues to have a significant impact on the workforce of businesses and organisations.

In the seven days up to and including Tuesday, Shetland’s average was running at 1,627 cases per 100,000 of population compared to 795 across Scotland as a whole.

Positive lateral flow tests are now included alongside PCR tests in all nationwide data.

On Friday Scotland recorded 7,341 cases, 118 hospital admissions and 11 deaths.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this week that the requirement for secondary school pupils and staff to wear face masks will be removed from 28 February.

Earlier this week UK prime minister Boris Johnson said he hoped to be able to remove measures such as mandatory self-isolation within weeks.

It has also been suggested that the government plans to dismantle the Covid-19 testing regime including the ongoing weekly ONS infection survey.

Johnson’s unexpected pronouncement drew criticism from many epidemiologists and public health scientists, and there is no indication that the other home nations will follow suit at this stage.

NHS Shetland interim director of public health Dr Susan Laidlaw said on Thursday that the health board would “urge the community to continue undertaking lateral flow tests when not showing any symptoms and to seek a PCR test if showing symptoms”.